Speeding Up The Embarkation Process

A dear friend of ours used to say that when America wants to try something new, whether it's a new procedure or a new law, it often happens first in California. If it's successful, that's good enough…and it goes viral, or at least to other places.

Our late friend lived in California, he knew what he was talking about — or so we assumed.

Twice on our cruises customs agents have come onto the ship to clear passengers for going ashore. Now we're not saying it hadn't happened anywhere else, but those are the only times we been part of a process that shortens lines and speeds Yokohamaup disembarkation. It seemed like such a good idea we wondered why customs people didn't do the same thing whenever and wherever a ship is disembarked.

This summer, Japan is going one better.

According to a story in The Japan News, ministry immigration officers will go on board at the ships' home ports to collect fingerprints and facial recognition data. When the ship arrives at Yokohama's cruise port (above), it will still take an hour for passengers to go through passport verification, freeing them to spend at least an extra hour in the port.

For a ship with 3,000 passengers, that's up to another 3,000 hours of spending, so just do the math.

By 2030, Japan anticipates its number of foreign visitors will triple.

With the growth of cruising in Asia, the Japanese want to be ready.

- photo by Aimaimyi

Celebrity Century
7 nights
June 8, 2014
Vancouver (return): Icy Strait Point, Hubbard Glacier, JuneauKetchikan
Inside: $599
Cost per day: $85
www.celebritycruises.com

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